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Menlo Book Club: The ONE Thing

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller

Many voices compete for our attention, and we can easily feel overwhelmed by the number of client emails, team meetings, neighborhood gatherings and home improvement projects to attend to.

In his book The ONE Thing, Gary Keller provides direction for how to sort through the noise, organize our lives and become more productive. He encourages readers to choose ONE thing to focus on. The Menlo Group team enjoyed reading and discussing his ideas and wanted to share what we’ve learned.

Choosing Your ONE Thing

To determine our ONE thing, Keller poses the question, “What’s the ONE thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” Not all tasks or activities are created equal, and we should focus on what is most important. We need to take our to-do list and turn it into a should-do list, continually narrowing it down until we are left with a single project.

At Menlo Group, we follow the Entrepreneurial Operating System to guide company processes. This system helps us determine our company and individual 10-year visions and break them down into 3-year, 1-year and 90-day plans to reach that goal. Our vision is our ONE thing, and it provides clarity to our roles and leads to greater productivity.

Focusing on Your ONE Thing

The book outlines many tips for focusing on your ONE thing. Here are a few that our team will be implementing:

1. Block off time

Keller recommends blocking off time—at least four hours each day—to work on our ONE thing. This time block is an appointment that we shouldn’t ever miss. Willpower depletes throughout the day, so we should schedule our time block earlier in the day to maximize productivity.

2. Get good at saying no

Every time we say yes to a request, we are effectively saying no to many other things. We should only say yes to tasks that support our ONE thing.

3. Limit distractions

We should let others know when we’ll be focusing on our ONE thing. Every member of our team has a desk light that signifies to others that they shouldn’t be disturbed. We should also turn off notifications during this time to ensure that we aren’t distracted by incoming messages.

4. Find a support system

Those around us can influence our success. We should let others know of our goals and find ways that they can help us achieve them. At Menlo Group, advisors meet with an accountability partner monthly to ensure they are on track to achieving their ONE thing.

5. Take time to rest

In his book, Keller states, “Resting is as important as working.” He encourages readers to plan vacations and long weekends. Deliberate rest enables us to recharge in order to better reach our goals.

We enjoyed Keller’s book and hope to be able to continue to implement his ideas.

Check out what else we’ve been reading on our blog or join our Virtual Book Club to receive biweekly email updates with chapter summaries, discussion questions and business tips from our team.

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